Dubai: The Dubai Can initiative will reach a total of 50 drinking water stations installed by the year end in the emirate, a senior official has said.
Yousuf Lootah, Executive Director, Tourism Development & Investments, Department of Economy and Tourism, and Vice Chairman of Dubai Sustainable Tourism, told Gulf News: “Many of our valued partners and stakeholders drawn from the business and tourism sectors have pledged to install a fountain. This means more than 50 fountains will be in place across the city by December 2022.”
1 million plastic bottles saved
The Dubai Can initiative - launched in February by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai - has resulted in a reduction in usage of an equivalent of over one million 500ml single-use plastic water bottles.
Where are the fountains?
To date, under the Dubai Can initiative, 40 water fountains have been set up across the city in popular destinations and attractions. The areas include The Beach, JBR, Palm Jumeriah’s West Palm Beach, La Mer and Kite Beach, and at popular parks such as Safa Park, JLT Park, Al Barsha Pond Park, Mushrif National Park and Zabeel Park. Fountains have also been installed at retail destinations such as Marina Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Festival City Mall and Madinat Jumeirah and residents and visitors can also find Dubai Can fountains at popular destinations such as Dubai International Financial Centre’s Gate Village and Dubai Harbour, as well as a water fountain that was installed recently in Al Qudra.
‘Refill for life’
Lootah said that initiatives like the Dubai Can will significantly contribute to a sustainable environment.
“We are still in the early stages of a long sustainability journey. We need more time to achieve our goals of encouraging everyone to ‘refill for life’. We are making steady progress with respect to changing mindsets and spurring action. Our key first steps is to ensure the initiative becomes a resounding success,” Lootah said.
He added that in the next five years single use plastic consumption will reduce significantly as a result of initiatives such as the Dubai Can.
“We cannot quantify the amount of plastic that is set to be reduced by this initiative alone. For example, the Dubai Can platform supports Dubai Recycles - the strategic plan for waste management that aims to reduce and completely divert waste from landfills by 2030.
Change in mindset
Lootah said that during the last five months, the Dubai Can initiative witnessed enormous consumer behaviour change. “For myself and my colleagues personally, it is heartwarming to see adults and children of all ages, cultures, backgrounds and from different walks of life – both residents and tourists coming together as a community to use the Dubai Can fountains in all of our neighbourhoods and destinations, together committing to ‘Refill for life’. The ultimate goal of Dubai Can is to change mindsets and inspire action to reduce our reliance on single-use plastic. We need to act now to help our planet.”
Across the globe, the world has created more plastic waste in 10 years than during the previous century combined – and 40 per cent of all plastic waste in the UAE is single-use, accordingly to research by the Environment Agency.
“These facts are very concerning, especially as we know that it can take around 450 years for some plastics to decompose. Even more worrying, is that approximately 100,000 marine mammals are killed by ocean plastic every year according to research by WWF. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. We have seen mindsets towards plastic change enormously, especially once people realise the impact of plastic upon our natural environment. Single-use plastic water bottles is one of the areas where everyone can make a positive change. By consciously avoiding them, circulation of single-use plastic water bottles will decrease, and thereby reduce plastic waste in the city.”
How to stay plastic-free
Lootah said: “It is important to stay hydrated during the summer months and the Dubai Can fountains are a great way to ensure that visitors and residents stay cool during the summer. The drinking water from the stations is kept cool at a temperature of 10C offering people a refreshing, clean and safe alternative to purchasing plastic bottles of water, whilst also driving a ‘refill culture’.
“We suggest that during the warm summer months, residents and tourists carry a refillable bottle and plan their journey using the interactive Dubai Can map. Whether they are planning a sunrise work-out, heading to the office or a meeting, picking up bargains during Dubai Summer Surprises, or simply visiting friends for a sunset stroll, everyone can keep hydrated and stay cool this summer by using the Dubai Can fountains.”